All my cameras

2010-06-11

in Geek stuff, Photography, Travel

For the sake of documentation and discussion, here is a list of all the cameras I have ever owned:

Lime green McDonald’s camera

  • Obtained as part of a McDonald’s Happy Meal, used to take photos in Czechoslovakia as a child
  • Used 110 cartridge film

Minolta Freedom AF Big Finder point-and-shoot (P&S) film camera

  • Used 35mm film, like all subsequent film cameras to date
  • Christmas gift used for years, including to take photos during the first and second LIFEboat Flotillas
  • Stolen and replaced by insurance company

Used Pentax ME Super single lens reflex (SLR) film camera

  • Acquired in 11th grade, first ‘artistic’ camera, purchased used from North Vancouver photo store
  • 50mm lens owned, telephoto and wide angle lenses borrowed
  • Used in England
  • Mostly used with black and white negative films: Ilford Delta 400 and Kodak T-Max 100 and 400
  • Eventually sold back to the shop where it was purchased

Canon Rebel G entry-level film SLR

  • Purchased in search of better metering and reliability than the MX Super provided
  • Established me as a probable Canon user for life, though I didn’t realize the significance at the time
  • Purchased with Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, rather than kit lens
  • Subsequently purchased Canon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM, while living in Montreal
  • Used in Italy and the Czech Republic in summer 2004

Canon Elan 7N semi-professional film SLR

  • Purchased toward the end of undergrad
  • Used in Malta, Ireland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom
  • Not really the best use of money. Another lens would have been better.

Canon A510 P&S digital camera

  • Purchased at Staples shortly before going to Oxford, primary camera used for documenting Oxford years
  • Camera used for most of my photo.net images
  • Used for in Estonia, Finland, Malta, Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, France, Wales, and Morocco
  • Sent to Canon for repair when a large blob of dust and/or mold appeared on the sensor

Canon A570 IS P&S digital camera

Canon Rebel XS entry-level digital SLR

  • Came with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens, which was eventually returned along with the body to the manufacturer
  • Later purchased replacement for broken Canon 50mm f/1.8 as well as Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM.
  • Also used with rented Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM (See: night and day)
  • Electrical problems twice, flash problem once, eventually returned to Canon as defective

Canon 5D Mark II semi-professional digital SLR

  • Replacement for dead Rebel XS

Each camera was of considerable use, and taught me something about photography. The general pattern has been buying an entry-level version of some sort of camera and eventually replacing it with one or more superior successors. In each case, the transition to a new class of camera has been more important than subsequent upgrading within the class – that goes for going from P&S to SLR, going from film to digital, and going from digital P&S to digital SLR.

  • Best value for money: the A570 IS
  • The camera I learned the most from: either the MX Super or the Rebel XS
  • Most fun to use: all the SLRs
  • Biggest savings anchor: the 5D Mark II, which cost as much as all the previous cameras put together

At some point, I would like to try either a 35mm or a digital rangefinder, as well as medium format film.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan June 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm

You, possibly by accident, have an excellent HD video kit – the best glass and (in everything but low light, although perhaps aftermarket noise reduction software would reduce the difference between the 5Dmk2 and the Nikon 3Ds) the best current video DSLR. Do you have any plans to shoot a video project?

Tristan June 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I’ve found point and shoots and SLR’s both very fun to shoot with. The advantage of point and shoots is that you can carry them with you always. SLR’s are king for blurring backgrounds, action, and low light.

The most important thing, I find, is actually having my camera with me, and being willing to use it.

Milan June 13, 2010 at 12:49 am

I like SLRs because they are so intentional. While a point and shoot camera allows you to tweak aperture, shutter speed, white balance, etc an SLR actually makes doing so quick and intuitive enough that you do it for every shot.

BuddyRich June 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Nice on the 5dmkII purchase. That is a nice camera.

I don’t routinely check your exif data, any pictures with it yet?

BTW How is picture taking with the arm in a sling?

oleh June 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I am impressed that you remember your history of ownership of cameras for nearly twenty years.

Milan June 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I don’t routinely check your exif data, any pictures with it yet?

Posts with photos taken on the 5D Mk II:

So far, they have all been with the 50mm f/1.8, since using my heavier lenses with just one arm is difficult.

I have lots more photos taken to accompany future posts, including some shot recently with the 70-200 f/4.

I am impressed that you remember your history of ownership of cameras for nearly twenty years.

I still have many of these cameras: the Canon Rebel G, the Canon Elan 7N, the Canon A570 IS, and the Canon 5D Mark II.

Emily has the Canon A510.

Milan June 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

For the sake of demonstrating the 5D Mk II a bit more completely, here are a couple of full resolution images:

Evey Hornbeck at Irene’s

  • Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • 1/50″
  • f/3.2
  • 2500 ISO

Bikes by the Rideau River

  • Canon 70-200mm f/4L
  • 1/640″
  • f/8
  • 800 ISO

Both were shot at large JPEGs with fine compression.

Anon June 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Shooting at 800 ISO outside on a bright sunny day? Such luxury!

Milan June 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm

One distinct downside of the 5D Mk II is the file sizes.

With the A570, downloading photos into iPhoto was a slow process that usually required all other applications to be closed. When I upgraded from my old G4 iBook to my 2.8GHz dual core iMac, downloading images from the A570 and even the Rebel XS became screaming fast.

With the 5D, I am back to the process being a bit slow and patchy – with music and web browsers in the background not recommended. I can only imagine what it would be like if I was shooting RAW.

. July 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Rockwell: DSLRs now Mature

35mm SLRs peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Everything since then has simply been piling-on fluff features in order to sell more 35mm SLRs to gadget-hounds.

Digital SLRs are now mature as of 2010. That’s why Nikon hasn’t introduced even one new DSLR at any time this decade.

There will always be more cameras coming, even if in kidding below I noticed that it seems like Nikon has given up.

By being declared “mature,” this means that DSLRs are as good as they are going to get. Sure, there will always be incremental improvements, but along with each small actual improvement will come many more needless features which merely clutter operation.

Ten years ago, when Nikon started to ship the world’s first practical DSLR in volume, the Nikon D1, it was primitive. Resolution was barely enough to get a decent 8×10″ print. Custom functions were just numbers, so you needed to carry a conversion card to figure them out. The D1’s sensor was only a fraction of the correct size. Highlights looked awful because they clipped at about zone VI 1/2. The D1’s huge battery only lasted a couple of hundred shots — on a good day — so you had to pack several.

With Nikon’s D3s, D700 and Canon’s 5D Mark II, we have mature products. They do exactly what we need them to and there are only small ways to improve them, and those small ways aren’t technical, but merely ergonomic.

Matt September 3, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Just read on Wikipedia that at least one entire episode of “House” was shot on a Canon 5d Mark II. Pretty impressive feat for what is nominally a still camera.

Milan September 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I got the 5D Mk II on June 10th. Since then, I have taken 5,072 photos worth saving. That means I have increased my total collection of digital photos by about 20% in the last few months.

Milan February 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Lime green McDonald’s camera

* Obtained as part of a McDonald’s Happy Meal, used to take photos in Czechoslovakia as a child
* Used 110 cartridge film

This old photo, which I came across in Toronto today, shows me with that camera:

In various albums in Toronto and Vancouver, there are probably photos of me with all the other cameras listed in this post.

. October 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm

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